NAFTA – Three Amigos 2.0

Written by  //  January 11, 2023  //  Canada, Mexico, U.S.  //  No comments

Ian Bremmer: Immigration a Biden priority at Three Amigos Summit
(GZero media) Well, immigration is very high only between the US and Mexico. But still, the fact that Biden is willing to use this pandemic era clause to try to keep migrants from coming to the United States was not on my Bingo card six months ago. A lot of progressive Dems are unhappy with him, and a lot of conservatives are saying he’s doing too little, too late, but nonetheless does recognize that he doesn’t win any votes on balance by having large number of illegal immigrants continue to come to the United States. Also, a whole bunch of new NAFTA stuff, especially trade relations on energy with the Mexicans, Americans, and the Canadians, pretty unhappy with what AMLO has been doing on that front.
Three Amigos talk and … that’s all, folks
Well, some progress is better than none at all — at least among “friends.” At their “Three Amigos” summit on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — known as AMLO — announced a slew of agreements on things like moving some US production of semiconductors to Mexico, cutting methane emissions to fight climate change, and installing EV charging stations on shared borders. But they failed to make significant headway on the thorniest issues: the record numbers of asylum-seekers entering the US from Mexico; Mexican-made fentanyl causing a public health catastrophe for los gringos; and USMCA-related trade disputes such as Mexico’s energy reforms or Canadian grumbling at the Biden administration’s EV subsidies. Indeed, perhaps the best thing to come out of the summit is that Biden and AMLO — who had a tense exchange on Day 1 — showed that despite their lack of personal chemistry, maybe they can be compadres after all.
10 January
Jeremy Kinsman & Larry Haas After no meetings during Trump, the Three Amigos meet again!
Jeremy is encouraged that “we are finally pitching a strategic approach” to North American economic growth and cooperation, but disappointed that Trudeau has not reacted positively to the invitation/challenge from the U.S. to lead an invited military mission to Haiti (Trudeau hedges on military mission to Haiti). While migration and US immigration reform remains the dominant US-Mexico bilateral issue, there is a need to work out a trilateral approach to energy that accommodates the differing national industry structures; the long-discussed common electrical grid should be a model for regional non-oil energy. Finally, the pursuit of fentanyl producers is one that neither Canada nor the US can do much about; the power of the drug lords in Mexico -and other countries- is such that politicians and police have only limited capabilities.
Canada, U.S., Mexico pledge to tighten economic ties, boost domestic production
By Jarrett Renshaw and Dave Graham, Reuters
(Global) The United States, Mexico and Canada on Tuesday vowed to tighten economic ties, producing more goods regionally and boosting semiconductor output, even as integration is hampered by an ongoing dispute over Mexico’s nationalist energy policies.
“We’re working to a future to strengthen our cooperation on supply chains and critical minerals so we can continue to accelerate in our efforts to build the technologies of tomorrow – right here in North America,” Biden said in a joint news conference with his fellow leaders after their meeting
Lopez Obrador said the region would promote economic development by creating a committee for import substitution to make North America less dependent on other parts of the world.
The United States said the region would in early 2023 organize a semiconductor forum to increase investment in the strategic high-tech industry dominated by Asia.
The White House said coordination would be needed on semiconductor supply chain mapping to identify needs and investment opportunities in making chips that are used in everything from telecoms to carmaking and defense.
After Rocky Start, Biden Builds Rapport With Mexico’s President
Warm gestures by the American president have helped cement a critical relationship with a Mexican leader whose cooperation on migration, climate change and the drug trade is crucial.
Significant challenges remain pressing on both sides of the border, and the two countries are not always aligned on how to contain an extraordinary movement of people across the Americas, curb the surging trade in fentanyl or combat climate change.
Energy remains a sticking point, as the United States and Canada have accused Mexico of violating a free-trade agreement with policies that boost a state-owned electrical utility over international companies.

Biden, López Obrador, Trudeau meet in Mexico City for summit
(AP) — President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are meeting for a series of talks on migration, trade and climate change on Tuesday as the three leaders try to mend tensions that have divided the continent.
The three-way gathering is held most years, although there was a hiatus while Donald Trump was U.S. president. It’s often called the “three amigos summit,” a reference to the deep diplomatic and economic ties between the countries.
However, the leaders still found themselves at odds, especially as they struggle to handle an influx of migrants and to crack down on smugglers who profit from persuading people to make the dangerous trip to the United States.
In addition, Canada and the U.S. accuse López Obrador of violating a free trade pact by favoring Mexico’s state-owed utility over power plants built by foreign and private investors. Meanwhile, Trudeau and López Obrador are concerned about Biden’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing, creating concerns that U.S. neighbors could be left behind.
The centerpiece of the summit will be hours of talks with all three leaders, but Biden will start Tuesday with a bilateral meeting with Trudeau. It’s unlikely to be as contentious as his sitdown with López Obrador on Monday.
During that meeting, the Mexican leader challenged Biden to improve life across the region, telling him that “you hold the key in your hand.”
“This is the moment for us to determine to do away with this abandonment, this disdain, and this forgetfulness for Latin America and the Caribbean,” Lopez Obrador said.
Biden responded by pointing to the billions of dollars that the United States spends in foreign aid around the world, saying that “unfortunately our responsibility just doesn’t end in the Western Hemisphere.”
It was a noticeably sharp exchange after the two leaders had smiled and embraced and shaken hands for the cameras.
Biden and López Obrador haven’t been on particularly good terms for the past two years. The Mexican leader made no secret of his admiration for Trump, and last year he skipped a Los Angeles summit of the Americas because Biden didn’t invite the authoritarian regimes of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
What’s on the agenda at the “Three Amigos Summit”?
(Signal, GZERO Media) A meeting of North American leaders known as the “Three Amigos Summit” kicked off in Mexico City on Monday. US President Joe Biden, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, met face-to-face for the first time since Nov. 2021 to chart a path forward on a range of thorny issues. Biden was greeted by his Mexican counterpart a day after making his first presidential visit to the US southern border. Indeed, the two have plenty to talk about. While Washington usually calls the shots when it comes to the US-Mexico relationship, AMLO will be looking to earn some concessions from Biden, who is desperately seeking help in dealing with a chaotic situation at the US border. This comes after Biden announced in recent days that Mexico had agreed to take in tens of thousands of Nicaraguan, Haitian, and Cuban migrants denied entry into the US in exchange for more work visas for Mexican laborers. Still, the White House might ask for more: While AMLO has agreed to take in an extra 30,000 migrants per month from these countries (plus Venezuela), some 90,000 people from these four places sought to cross the US southern border in November alone. Stopping the drug smuggling trade from Mexico into the US will also be high on the agenda as fentanyl overdoses continue to devastate American communities. Much of the remaining conversation will center on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal: Ottawa and Washington have accused AMLO of exerting excessive state control over the energy market. Meanwhile, Canada-US ties have been strained since the Biden administration’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act, passed last summer, included a slew of tax breaks for buying US-made electric vehicles, which Ottawa says will cripple its car manufacturing industry.

Justin Trudeau might find himself fighting for attention at ‘Three Amigos’ summit amid border issues
Migration crisis and the importation of illegal drugs likely to be Biden’s top priority at North American leaders summit
“I think as it’s currently framed, the North American Summit is a lot about Mexico,” said Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, who noted that Biden preceded his visit to Mexico by inspecting a busy port of entry for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In that context, Trudeau’s main challenge as he steps foot in Mexico City will be “to be relevant and to be heard,” added Greenwood.
“For Canada to be really heard and noticed, it has to have one priority and it has to be really aggressive about it. And I realize that’s sort of un-Canadian,” she said. “But that’s the way it goes with trying to capture the attention and the imagination of the United States, which has a lot going on.”

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